Unification News for May 1996
University of Illinois at Chicago Campus Rally: CARP Harps Playboy
by Robert S. Kittel-NYC
"CARP Harps Playboy" were the headlines of an article that splashed across the front pages of the Chicago Flame, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) weekly student newspaper. The story highlighted the efforts of CARP and other student organizations who "protested the sale and availability of pornographic materials in University bookstores and the Main Library." The positive story ran February 20th, the week after CARP's campus demonstration.
Included among those who lent their support for the anti- pornography/pro-family rally were UIC faculty and student clubs such as the Confederation for Latin American Students (CLAS), Golden Key National Honor Society, Beta Alpha Psi, the Muslim Students' Association, Intervarsity, as well as CARP.
In addition, more than 3,500 students signed a petition asking university authorities to remove pornography from their on-campus bookstore and library. This represented 14% of the 25,000 student body. But this figure may be misleading because these signatures were collected in a period of less than two weeks. Kevin Brugman, president of the CARP at UIC said that 75-80% of the students who were asked to sign easily did. With this broad support, a letter was sent to Chancellor James Stukel which read in part:
"Pornography is offensive and disrespectful to many of the religious, cultural and ethnic heritages that are represented at UIC. Students were highly surprised that such unhealthy material is tolerated by campus authorities. Many felt out-raged. Others questioned if this is the best use of tax-payer-supported school-funds.
"Making pornographic literature available to students condones the publishers often unpublished philosophical view of life which says, "Sexual relationships outside of marriage are okay." Gone are commitment, love, living for others, compassion, family and social responsibility. Is this the kind of attitude we seek to foster in future leaders of our society, state and nation?"
More than campus publicity, this issue drew nationwide media coverage. Altogether, six television stations came to report the UIC rally: 2 Spanish stations, NBC, ABC, FOX, ChicagoLand and a Christian cable station. Two nationwide radio talks shows hosts spoke about our anti- pornography rally: Paul Harvey and Jay Marvin (a liberal version of Russ Limbagh). Two local newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Defender, printed articles.
The Tribune story attributed sponsorship to the Pure Love Alliance (PLA), a broad-based network of concerned citizens and organizations who can no longer remain silent about declining moral standards in America. CARP is one of its main supporters. The lead in the February 13th article read, "The Pure Love Alliance is afraid that the pure love has been taken away from Valentine's Day, replaced by something a lot more lustful and lewd." In the body of the story, which carried a photography of the UIC rally, they mentioned CARP's association with the Unification Church , which it said was "started by Rev. Sun Myung Moon."
We sent letters to Governor Jim Edgar's office and other Illinois lawmakers explaining why we felt it inappropriate to sell pornography on campus. Only the Governor responded. He forwarded our letter to the State of Illinois, Board of Higher Education in the capital Springfield, the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. They, in turn, wrote to me saying the Governor appreciated the fact that we provided him information about the retail sales of pornography on the UIC campus.
Concluding the letter, they said, it was good that we keep them informed about issues like this that are going on in state institutions of higher education "so we in state government can be informed on this matter."
And now, instead of Playboy, Playgirl, Penthouse, Freshman, and Variation being visible but sold behind the counter, they are no longer even visible. Because of CARP's protests, bookstore authorities have place the pornographic material out of sight. It's under the counter and unless asked for, is assumed not available. But we are not satisfied and will again press for its total ban next school year.
The following day (Tuesday, 2.13.96), concerned Chicago citizens and students from three Chicago campuses (University of Illinois Chicago, Harold Washington College and Truman College) rallied in front of the national headquarters of Playboy Enterprise, Inc. on North Lakeshore Drive. After several community leaders spoke out, as many as 100 protesters cheered as they watched an effigy of the Playboy bunny burn. Speakers at the downtown Chicago rally included:
* Rev. A. I. Dunlap; Chicago-based civil rights leader who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King for more than four decades.
* Mrs. Kathy Valente; founder of Citizens for Community Values, who successfully changed public indecency ordinances in Lansing, IL to make nudity illegal.
* Rev. M. Earle Sardon; president of the Crusaders of Justice and pastor at the Holiness Community Temple.
* Mrs. Kathleen Sometani; president of the Illinois chapter of the Women's Federation for World Peace. (The WFWP hosted former President George and Barbara Bush in a national tour of 8 Japanese cities last year).
* Mr. Matt Jones; an undergraduate law student at William's College in Massachusetts taking a year off from studies to work for CARP.
* Mr. Mike Jenkins; the mid-west regional director for the American Constitution Committee.
* Mr. Robert S. Kittel; a national spokesperson for the Pure Love Alliance was the MC for the rally.
At the end of the hour-long rally, in below freezing weather, a letter of protest was delivered to the 15th floor office of Playboy's headquarters where a huge golden image of the Playboy bunny logo hangs on the wall. Selected paragraphs from the one-page letter address to Christi Hefner, president of Playboy, read:
Today concerned citizens are going after the tobacco industry because people finally understand the harm of cigarette smoking. As long as the injurious affects of nicotine addition were hidden from the public conscience the industry flourished.
The pornography industry will be next. It is a social cancer, long- overdue to be exposed to public scrutiny.
Public awareness is rising. Concerned citizens and organizations are saying "Enough is enough." A study from the University of New Hampshire showed the states with the highest subscription to pornographic material were also the states with the highest rate of rape.
We support the Catholic Church in their protest of the most recent cover of your magazine. It depicts a girl in a typically-Catholic parochial school uniform undressing. It stands as a mockery of the religious beliefs of the largest single religion on earth. Does freedom of the press allow open slander of religion?
Concluding the rally, protesters marched around the building which comprises the Playboy offices and burned the front cover of the March 1996 Playboy magazine as a sign of their indignation against pornography and support for the Catholic protest.
"On the cover of the March Playboy is a picture of a young woman dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl. The woman appears undressed in the magazine in a section titled, `The Stripper Next Door'... The cover of the March Playboy represents the crass sexual exploitation of Catholic schoolgirls... It represents a deliberate offense against Catholic sensibilities and a calculated attempt to legitimize its depravity." [Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, News Release, Feb. 2, 1996.] Then in the Catalyst, a newsletter of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, April 1996, Vol. 23, No. 3, in an article titled, Playboy Exploits Catholic Schoolgirls," they say "the emblem on her blazer [of the March 1996 Playboy cover] appears to say `St. Matthew's.'"
The efforts of the PLA is to raise awareness of the social consequences of moral issues. Late last year the PLA raised their voice at protests in front of the White House in Washington DC, and again in Hollywood, California. Our next major campaign will be in Atlanta, Georgia this summer, at the 100th Olympics.
Robert S. Kittel is National Advisor, World CARP Academy.
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